Word Count: 1016
Summary: John chose Atlantis. Atlantis chose John.
Notes: Alternate Universe, Sentient Atlantis.
Additional Note: Written for this prompt on comment_fic.
Elizabeth never let John forget who Atlantis belonged to or who belonged to Atlantis.
The city had been dark when the first expedition members cleared the event horizon: dark and desolate and unbearably, stiflingly silent. No controls lit up, no spark of life from sensors, no heat to warm them.
Elizabeth had immediately worried, amid the marvel, what they would do if there was no power to feed the city. She had led these people here, she was responsible for them: would generators do anything to help? Would they power the Stargate?
Then John, with his eyes wide in awe, stepped into the gateroom and all at once...
The yell that John issued before leaping off the damned ledge could've stopped Rodney's heart. The splash that followed might have because, holy fuck, the water in the pool was freezing.
“Oh, Rodney, just jump in!”
“I am not jumping in!”
John pulled him in instead and laughed and laughed until Rodney, primly, properly, grabbed John's head in his hands and shoved him under.
They ordered him to Earth after the Siege. Just, you know, for a friendly debrief with some of his superiors about things and events. And the dutiful soldier, John boarded the Daedalus with Elizabeth and Rodney and Carson, no questions, no disobedience.
Atlantis, however, put up a fight.
“Yeah, you, uh, have anything that might stop,” pause, “this?”)
He came home three days and one destroyed uniform later.
Hematemesis, Beckett had reported to the SGC, Idiopathic intracranial hypertension, resolved after returning to Atlantis. And Command had shot back, What the hell happened? to which Carson could only say, I'm working on determining the cause.
Rodney never let John forget the rules Atlantis had set for him.
The Daedalus left ten days after depositing the Expedition Senior Staff back within their city. Just sling home, resupply, come back, and by then, they'd have everything sorted out. Nice. Neat.
Welcome to Pegasus.
After it was destroyed, after Caldwell flew the ship into a goddamn sun to keep it from falling into Wraith hands, John stood in the middle of the gateroom: emotions, thick, ran through him as he stood in front of the idle Stargate.
Sadness, fear, anger.
Atlantis still stood. Protected, secreted away.
Rodney, despite his beliefs, not only snored—he rolled around at night like some overeager toddler learning to tumble, and oh, god, the gas.
“I do not!”
John smirked at him and flicked his eyes toward the panel inset into the wall of his quarters.
The screen flickered.
“Fine. I will admit that I probably shouldn't have eaten that beef taco MRE before bed last night, but I do not suffocate you with... with my...”
“Dyspepsia? Flatulence? Bombast?”
Rodney nearly flung his laptop at John's head, but decided (at the last minute) to just launch himself at John instead.
Life went back to way it had been before: making friends, hunting wraith, the family business.
Except for John.
(“He's going to be all right?”
Carson nodded, saying, “Aye, he'll be right as rain in a few hours,” and then quietly closed the curtain around the pair.)
It had been a mission to planet further out, days by puddlejumper, a skip through the Stargate, and apparently, it was as far as Atlantis would allow her favorite son.
He'd been puking blood after twelve hours, nearly unconscious from the rise in his ICP after twelve and a half, and Rodney had read him the riot act the entire trudge back home.
“I don't know why you have to keep testing this boundary! Oh, it's bad to have a commander that can't go off-world? I wasn't aware that your career previous to Atlantis was filled with a lot of off-world travel! I wish I'd seen that in your background check!” John didn't think Rodney was stopping his tirade to breathe, it was that majestic. “Push, push, push! That's all you do, push and push, as if somehow Atlantis is going to go, okay, sure, go off and get yourself killed. You're only the best chance she has for survival, too.”
John might have made it home to collapse entirely out of spite. And love. But mostly spite.
Atlantis never let him forget... anything.
The Ancients came, exiling the already exiled Expedition. All but John, all but the one Atlantis loved most, only to swallow their pride and relent when John refused to stay: Atlantis was home when she was filled with those he cared for.
Well, that and the fight she'd put up when the Ancients tried to dial the gate probably convinced them.
(The melody had drawn him away, out of hiding. Rodney, Elizabeth, Ronon, Carson, they'd followed him as he moved along the corridors, through hatchways and labs and over a dozen fallen men.
His eyes weren't focused and he couldn't form words.
The Chair, that's all he could think of. He had to get to the Chair.)
John would wonder—in later years, of course, not then and there—if the Replicators had felt fear in the seconds before he wiped them out of the city.
“Leak in the lower deck sewage,” John murmured into his pillow.
Seriously, he'd gotten home at twenty-seven-hundred, he'd been up at oh-four that morning and would be again, and he was half-fucking-asleep. As it was, the HUD was blurry in his head and he'd nearly interpreted sewage as seawater, two very, very different systems.
“What, she wants us to fix it right now?”
“I just deliver the messages. You wanna know, you ask her.” He pressed his face down, burying his eyes from the lamplight on the nightstand, and hoped Rodney would let him just go back to sleep already. He'd earned it, he'd so earned it.
Rodney, sadistic bastard he was, announced, “I would if she'd speak English instead of insisting I learn Ancient! Until then, you're up.”
“You know, it's not that hard a language to learn.”
The wallop on his bare ass didn't help to get John out of bed.
Also available on AO3.